Is Greg Mills an Islamophobe?
He will deny it of course, yet his recent piece "World terror looking to Africa," [Star-06/02/07] regurgitates flawed analyses and vague suppositions of the type usually associated with so-called "Islamic terror experts" whose primary vocation is to distort political realities.
The foundation of his op-ed whereby he formulates his inquiry about whether Africa is ripe for international terrorist activities is as erroneous as the balance of his enigmatic hypothesis. That the January massacre of innocent Somali villagers by US gunships is de-humanised and misrepresented as justifiable American conduct on the basis that they were "suspected al-Qaeda members" points to a gross dereliction.
No mention of US backing for war-lords and the Ethiopian army in imposing a regime change in Somalia is a reflection of an overt pro-American bias contained in this Afro-pessimistic piece by Mills.
In addition to painting an alarmist and gloomy picture of the continent’s so-called vulnerability to "international terrorists", his reckless disregard of facts and context is apart from being irresponsible, also problematic for civil societies’ continuous engagement with socio-political factors resulting from decades of colonialism and current imperial policies associated with the Bush administration.
This is testified by his effort to define "terrorism." Again, in adopting a largely euro-centric perspective devoid of home-grown political realities which ignore for instance legitimate concerns of Africa’s farming community vis-a-vis US enforced trade imbalances arising from preferential deals enjoyed by America’s agricultural sector, he commits a gross injustice to a highly complex subject matter.
And what about the Algerian convention on "terrorism" which flows from the former OAU and which categorically distinguishes between freedom struggles and criminal conduct? Mills’ suggestion is that the US knows better and hence resistance by the Islamic Courts Union and its supporters against direct or indirect foreign occupation would according to his paradigm be "terrorism".
It is such illogical and incoherent arguments which allow so-called "terror experts" like Mills to subvert a diverse range of challenges facing the continent – from land distribution to poverty and disease – and placing them in a single basket called "terrorism"!
It follows therefore that from his ivory tower he would see Africa as a "recruiting ground for terrorists of young, angry, marginalised and anti-American youths from Somalia to Senegal, Cape Town to Casablanca".
And like many of his faceless "theorists" his sweep embraces "failed states" such as Somalia and "well governed spaces" such as South Africa. In the case of the latter he pontificates that South Africa’s liberal constitution and civic institutions can "provide refuge to terrorists". Did he venture as far as providing examples of the Mark Thatcher type? No! Instead he hones in on …..you guessed it…….Muslims!
In his defence he may point out that he makes a disclaimer whereby his reference to the size, role, presence and political sensibilities of Muslim populations should not result in the demonising of "Islamic communities". Yet, he unashamedly does so himself dividing Muslims into two camps: "Peaceful proselytisers" and "more sinister forces within them".
To be "sinister" denotes characteristics which are evil, corrupt and dishonest.
And to find such evil forces "within them" would require suspicion, racist profiling, infiltration and a host of spooky elements to gather intelligence.
Of course, many glaring omissions in his speculative piece centre around US state-sponsored terrorism which has underwritten Israeli oppression of Palestinians for decades through both military and financial means.
Such blatant disregard for balance and accuracy seems not to bother hanglangers of America’s discredited "war on terror", which explains why Greg Mills cannot reconcile the facts with an acknowledgement that the Pentagon deserves the description of a "Holiday Inn for terrorism".
That brings me back to my question: Is Greg Mills an Islamophobe?